Most people can speculate with varying degrees of confidence on the date of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. It’s on a Sunday – or is it a Saturday? – and it falls either on the first or last Sunday of some month. That month is not February, but it’s not as late as July either.
There’s no such confusion about Valentine’s Day, though. Everybody knows that date – 14 February – in the same way, South Africans know to recognise National Braai Day every 24 September. But while this name gives you a very clear indication of what you’re expected to do on the day, the how-tos of Valentine’s Day are slightly more ambiguous. Here’s what I suggest you do.
Don’t bother with getting up early. Valentine’s Day is about love and I love sleeping late. After sleeping late, I love to have great coffee and proper rusks in bed. If you’re still in the horrible habit of drinking instant coffee, use Valentine’s Day 2013 to kick that habit and strengthen your relationship with real coffee made with ground coffee beans.
Once you’re up, the most important thing to do is to avoid shops, especially those selling flowers. They’re full of people and overpriced products. This year, steer clear of flowers and go for herbs. Buy small herb plants in advance, before the mad Valentine’s Day rush clogs up all shops. Start with parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme; then add some basil, rocket and chilli plants. The combined price of all these plants will probably equal that of a bunch of red roses, but unlike roses they’ll add real value to your life. The gift that keeps on giving, so to speak.
There’s another type of place you need to avoid like the plague on Valentine’s Day: restaurants. Sitting at a candlelit dinner for two, surrounded by hundreds of other tables for two, and waiting to be served overpriced, overcooked food must surely be one of the most depressing and least romantic things a South African male can possibly partake in.
I have a solution for this problem too: have a Valentine’s braai. Make a real wood fire and sit around that fire, staring into the flames.
Start off with something light like prawns with garlic butter or peri-peri sauce. Move on to fillet steak, braaied medium-rare and sliced thickly to serve with a creamy mushroom, pepper or mustard sauce. Dessert is even easier: each person can braai a few marshmallows on a skewer. But stick to the white marshmallows. You’ve done well so far; don’t spoil the day by eating pink sweets.
Photo by Matthys van Lill.
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